February 4, 2021


State Easing Restrictions on Business Capacity Limits as COVID Case Trend Improves

Gov. Charlie Baker announced today, that effective 5:00 AM on Monday, February 8th, the state will continue to roll back restrictions on businesses and capacity limits as the COVID-19 caseload continues to show signs of improvement.  Most businesses, including those in the retail and restaurant industries, have been restricted to 25% capacity limits since December 26th.  With today’s announcement, effective Monday, those businesses will move to a 40% capacity limit.  We remain at Phase 3 Step 1 o the Reopening Plan. 

Full details of the changes can be found here.  In summary:

  • Lifting 25% Capacity Restriction –

a. All businesses in the list below, currently limited to 25% capacity, will return to 40% capacity, as previously allowed. (industry guidance effective in December 2020 will apply)

      -    Arcades and Recreational Businesses
      -    Retail*
      -    Offices
      -    more…

(*Buildings for which no permitted occupancy limitation is on record may allow up to 8 persons (including staff) per 1,000 square feet of accessible space)

b. Restaurants will now be limited to 40% of their seated capacity and, as under the 25% capacity rule, employees will not count toward the limit

c. Close Contact Personal Services will now be limited to 40% capacity and, as under the 25% capacity rule, employees will be not count toward the limit

      The gatherings limit will stay at 10 people indoors, 25 outdoors.    


Employer Options for Hosting
Workforce Vaccine Cite   

A number of RAM members have voiced their interest in serving as a COVID-19 vaccination cite in order to vaccinate for their workforce. The Baker Administration is currently working on revised guidance for such employers which we anticipate will be finalized in the coming days.  As currently drafted, the plan provides employers with two options for vaccinating their workers internally.  
Option one allows employers to partner with a vaccine provider, such as an occupational health organization, pharmacy, or other health care organization.  Provider partners must be enrolled in the Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccine Program (MCVP) to receive access to the vaccine supply, but the employer does not. The provider partner will then order, receive, store, and administer the vaccine, and be responsible for reporting the doses administered information to the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS). For the majority of employers, Option one will be the best option.
The second option allows employers with an occupational health department to enroll in the MCVP themselves to gain access to and administer the vaccine, if they can meet all the requirements as outlined in the MCVP Provider Agreement.  The employer must have the ability to administer 200 doses within 10 days and would take on the provider responsibilities discussed above under option one.
Whichever option an employer chooses, it is important to educate and prepare their employees for the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC resources for educating and preparing the workforce for vaccination can be found here.
RAM will be sending an update with the final guidance once available.  Interested members may also continue to check the Department of Public Health website for further developments.  


RAM Member Businesses Invited to Utilize State's Tourism Website for Promotion 

The MA Office of Travel and Tourism has reached out to RAM to invite our member stores, restaurants, craft brewers, venues, etc. to promote on the MyLocalMA website.  RAM members interested in participating should contact RAM Membership Director, Andi Shea at [email protected].  Please provide the following information: Business Name, Business Website, Street Address, City, Zip Code, Phone Number, and Business Classification. (For example: Attraction, Clothing Store, Gift Store, Restaurant, Winery, Brewery, Distillery, Lodging.) Once the Office of Travel and Tourism has this information, the business will be given access to manage their own page where photos, website, store information can be posted.



RAM Health Insurance Cooperative Webinar


Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday, February 10th at 10:00AM (EST) to discuss their partnership with Retailers Association of Massachusetts and its Health Insurance Cooperative (RAMHIC).

Join us to learn how small groups (under 50 employees) can enjoy a 3% discount on BCBSMA medical insurance premiums and receive a free life insurance and a hospital indemnity plan at no additional cost, just by purchasing their plan through RAMHIC. 

In addition, BCBSMA’s wellness program Healthy Actions allows employers to earn up to 7.5% premium credit and employees to earn up to $300 for participating.  To register for this event click here.